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Old 10-27-2013, 11:09 AM   #1
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A bathroom challenge:

The paint on my bathroom walls is popping (or bubbling up) after a shower. Hereís the history:

The house is about 25 years old. The builder didnít install a fan in the bathroom. We had wall paper installed. Some years later the seams were pulling away from the wall due to the moisture. We decided to remove the wall paper and paint. I remove the wall paper washed the wall down and primed and painted. Sometime after that we notice what appeared to be water stains on the walls. It look like the moisture from the shower was sticking to the walls in a pattern that resembled the wall paper glue that I thought I had completely removed (apparently not). So I figured I would fix this by priming and repainting again, same result. So I broke down and installed a ceiling fan to help with the moisture problem. This helped a lot but the faint moisture marks were still appearing on the walls. So I call in a painter, he repainted the bathroom, same problem. I called him back and he suggested putting a skim code of joint compound and then repainting, he did that. Now Iím not seeing the stains as bad but the paint wants to bubble up after a shower. I figured itís time to fix this with another repainting. So I started to scrape the paint where the bubbles are. I find it appears that the painter painted a finish coat over the skim code of joint compound without priming it first. So as Iím scraping I can easily get my putty knife under the paint. So I scraped as much as I could and headed to my local paint company for some advice.

I explained my problem to the gentlemen at the paint store. He suggested using Zinsser BIN Synthetic Shellac base primer (this is a new product that is water based). He said to prime the walls first, then patch the walls as needed with joint compound, then re-prime. I then applied a third code of primer. It was then that I noticed small, dime size bubbles popping up on the wall. I could take my finger and feel the paint separation behind the bubble. I then used my putty knife and found that this separation was coming from the layer between the skim coat of joint compound and the finish coat the painter installed. This is where Iím at now.

I concerned that if I fix the current bubbles and spot prime and apply two coats of finish coats that my first shower or within a few weeks the paint may start to separate again and Iíll be back at square one. IS THERE ANY WAY TO FIX THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL Ö short of replacing the sheetrock?

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Old 10-27-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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A bathroom challenge:

Wow, that's a tough one. It sounds like the current failure is occurring at the skim coat, so the first step would have to be removing all coats down to that layer. When you scraped "as much as you could" of the finish coat the painter applied off, that helped but you really need to get it all off because it will continue to bubble as you are seeing.

If you can take it all down to the skim coat, let the walls dry thoroughly, and use an oil base primer, that might solve the problem. That new BIN synthetic or Gardz might work as well but you will have to get down to a stable surface everywhere (presumably the skim coat) for anything to work.

It sounds like the Sheetrock was water stained from the beginning. Moisture could have seeped in through the separating wallpaper seams. Whatever primer was used initially did not block the stains. Acrylic primers have come a long way, but for water stains, to be sure, use oil. Zinsser makes an odorless oil primer that is not too bad to use.

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Old 10-27-2013, 01:04 PM   #3
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A bathroom challenge:

+ 1 for Gardz. Getting down to the most stable surface you can, and using the sealer ( which will essentially be your new surface) is what i would do.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #4
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A bathroom challenge:

I think we are on the same page. Whatís the best way to remove the paint that is sticking, paint remover?

I also received another suggestion from painterforum that using an oil base primer and finish coat would solve the problem. Iím not comfortable (confident) with this suggestion knowing the issue with the skim coat. I appreciate your response.
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